China has further tightened its grip on the Internet, with the passage of a new cybersecurity law. The law will have wide-reaching impacts both in and outside the country, on Internet businesses and human rights alike.
China’s new cybersecurity law requires the collection of personally identifiable information of Internet users, as well as those using messaging services. This information can include real names and other personal content, and provisions of the law require storing the information. Certain data for foriegn Internet companies must be stored locally – meaning in China. The new law additionally includes provisions requiring companies to monitor networks security issues (network “intrusions”), and offer technical support in addressing incidents that occur. The increased monitoring could lead to surveillance, as well as network shutdowns. Unsurprisingly, the laws also increase already severe censorship under the Great Firewall.
The Human Rights Watch described the new law as a “regressive measure that strengthens censorship, surveillance, and other controls over the Internet.”